Planning for the needs of marginalised communities

Cities are heterogeneous, and pockets of wealth exist alongside extremely marginalised communities. Planning can play an essential role in ensuring that the poorest communities are not left behind. For many policymakers, scarcity of data on the needs of the poorest can inhibit action. WSUP has implemented citywide surveys in a number of cities, helping authorities to analyse needs and develop suitable policies.

Report: Oct 2018 – Citywide surveys of water and sanitation service levels: design and methodology


Reducing inequalities through regulatory improvements

Regulators have a vital role in tackling inequality, by incentivising utilities to focus on the poorest customers. In Kenya, we have worked with the national water regulator to make serving low-income customers a regulatory requirement, helping hundreds of thousands of Kenyans to receive improved services.

Accessing water in Korogocho, Nairobi, KenyaBlog: June 2018 – Achieving national impact through regulatory improvements

Improving cities’ resilience to the effects of climate change

The poorest urban residents are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As rainfall becomes more erratic, water supply becomes less reliable.

WSUP’s works with utilities and city authorities to improve their resilience to climate change. To ensure city taps don’t run dry, WSUP supports utilities to reduce the amount of water lost in the system – either through leakage and/or poor revenue collection; in Antananarivo, this has reduced water loss from the system from 48% in 2012 to 39% in 2015 – saving the utility, JIRAMA, three million cubic metres of water per year.

Blog: June 2019 – The Leak Squad: preserving Antananarivo’s most precious resource

Ensuring services cater to different needs

The provision of taps and toilets is not enough to ensure that low-income communities will benefit from water and sanitation services. Scalable, sustainable improvements for the poorest will only happen if there is a focus on building the skills and capacity of service providers – such as utilities, municipal authorities and SMEs – to reach the poorest.

Over the past nine years, WSUP has worked with the Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company (NCWSC) to set up a team which specifically serves the city’s poorest residents. The Informal Settlements Region now has over 200 staff and is setting a standard for other utilities across Africa.

Report – Oct 2018: A journey of institutional change: extending water services to Nairobi’s informal settlements


Improving affordability of water and sanitation services

Through detailed research, we are supporting cities to understand the level of subsidy that may be required to bring services to the poorest, and working with policymakers to introduce these subsidy schemes.

WSUP has supported utilities to introduce payment mechanisms for marginalised residents, so that they can gain access to services that would be otherwise out of reach. For example, in Mozambique, WSUP has supported the regulator to introduce payment by instalment for water bills, making it easier for poorer households to access piped water.

Report – Aug 2017: Balancing financial viability and user affordability: an assessment of six WASH service delivery models